LibraryThing’s eleven employees stand together alongside so many in the library, literary, publishing, and tech worlds in opposition to President Trump’s recent executive order on refugees, immigration, and travel.
We feel compelled to do so as Trump’s actions concern us deeply, and strike at the heart of our work at the intersection of libraries and technology.
From the Library of Alexandria to the present day, libraries best realize their mission when they participate in the open meeting of cultures. At the most basic level, LibraryThing draws its data from libraries around the world, whose librarians collaborate to create records and make them available freely everywhere. At a higher level, we celebrate public libraries, who do so much to welcome and support refugees and immigrants, and the love of reading, which knows no national, ethnic, or religious bounds.
The American tech industry too draws much of its strength from immigrants and diversity of all kinds. Steve Jobs, whose computers we use and whose picture hangs at headquarters in Portland, Maine, was the son of a Syrian migrant. Our own employees have included (so far) Christians, Jews, Muslims, agnostics and atheists, one US immigrant, and residents of half a dozen countries.
- The order is unjust and discriminatory.
- The order conflicts with American—and democratic—ideals, including welcome to refugees and immigrants, and equal treatment for people of any religion.
- The order harms America’s safety and standing in the world. It encourages America’s enemies and hurts its friends.
- The order was executed cruelly and incompetently, inflicting needless additional suffering.
The people who work for LibraryThing do not all share the same politics or views. We have never made such a statement before, and hope we never have to again. But as librarians and believers in the promise of technology, we shall continue to stand for an open and accepting world, welcoming to refugees and immigrants, in which national, ethnic and religious differences are celebrated.
This statement was written by Tim, with encouragement and changes by other employees.
Update: If you’d like to join the discussion on Talk, that’s happening here.